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Creators of horror (Stephen King, Clive Barker and Peter Straub etc) write about their favourite works.


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Creators of horror (Stephen King, Clive Barker and Peter Straub etc) write about their favourite works.

30 review for Horror: The 100 Best Books

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jack Tripper

    This was an invaluable resource for me when I was a young horror-fiction fan in the early 90s. The list of contributors here is staggering: King, Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Lovecraft, Michael McDowell, Terry Pratchett, Lisa Tuttle, T.E.D Klein, Lansdale, Harlan Ellison, Poe, Etchison, Bloch, Straub, Gaiman, Skipp & Spector, Dan Simmons, M.R. James, Robert E. Howard, Charles L. Grant, Masterton, and too many more to name. Obviously the Lovecraft, Poe, M.R. James, and Howard pieces are taken from pr This was an invaluable resource for me when I was a young horror-fiction fan in the early 90s. The list of contributors here is staggering: King, Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Lovecraft, Michael McDowell, Terry Pratchett, Lisa Tuttle, T.E.D Klein, Lansdale, Harlan Ellison, Poe, Etchison, Bloch, Straub, Gaiman, Skipp & Spector, Dan Simmons, M.R. James, Robert E. Howard, Charles L. Grant, Masterton, and too many more to name. Obviously the Lovecraft, Poe, M.R. James, and Howard pieces are taken from previously published essays, but the rest of the writers were asked to choose their favorite "horror" book of all-time, from any era -- whether novel, collection, or anthology -- and write a short (usually 1-3 pages) essay explaining why it's deserving. I put "horror" in quotes because several of the selections aren't typically associated with the genre, though the essayist usually makes a convincing case for its inclusion. Some of the selections seemed to be there only to taunt me, becoming almost "holy grails," so rare and hard to come by were they (and still are in some cases). I'm looking at you, Karl Wagner. One day I'll have to bite the bullet and just pay the $100-plus for his selection, E.H. Visiak's 1929 novel, Medusa. Overall though, the book provides a nice mixture of old and new, bestsellers and hidden gems. The "recommended reading list" at the end is every bit as valuable as the main text, imo, and has turned me onto many excellent books I may have missed out on otherwise. I've perused this book countless times over the years, and will continue to do so. This, as well as its companion volume, Horror: Another 100 Best Books, are essential reading for any self-respecting horror-fiction fan. 5 Stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Randolph

    It's always fun to go back and look at these dated "Best" catalogs. First there are the contemporary or recent past books that are largely, and often justly now, forgotten. Then there are the contributors, that are largely, and often justly now, forgotten. Even so there is enough good here, especially in the older stuff, to make this a decent reference book. Beware, the entries often give away too much about the books featured. Far from a definitive list up to 1988, this is a good place to find s It's always fun to go back and look at these dated "Best" catalogs. First there are the contemporary or recent past books that are largely, and often justly now, forgotten. Then there are the contributors, that are largely, and often justly now, forgotten. Even so there is enough good here, especially in the older stuff, to make this a decent reference book. Beware, the entries often give away too much about the books featured. Far from a definitive list up to 1988, this is a good place to find some things you just might have overlooked.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This is a fantastic resource. I am working on assembling a reading list for a book club themed around the history and evolution of horror. While Supernatural Horror in Literature can do a good job carrying my into the 1930's, this takes me on the same journey but up into the 1980's. I can fill out a list from the last few decades on my own. Several of these essays sold me on whether or not I would find a book compelling, and many convinced me to give some books a chance. Some of these made me dow This is a fantastic resource. I am working on assembling a reading list for a book club themed around the history and evolution of horror. While Supernatural Horror in Literature can do a good job carrying my into the 1930's, this takes me on the same journey but up into the 1980's. I can fill out a list from the last few decades on my own. Several of these essays sold me on whether or not I would find a book compelling, and many convinced me to give some books a chance. Some of these made me downright itchy to read. And some of these books are criminally out of print and unavailable for a reasonable price. My only significant regret is that I will not be able to fit more on the reading list for the book club, while simultaneously my own list has received significant fattening.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

    Damn good reference guide. 100 authors contributed by picking their favorite horror novel of al time. Kim Newman does a fine job of putting the whole project together. The collection put me on to a few titles I was unfamiliar with or perhaps needed a nudge to read, and I did. Although, tracking some of the titles down in the mid 90s was a major pain in the ass. Pre-internet mind you - it took me four years to track down a copy of Guy Endore's "The Werewolf of Paris" (made into the fine 1961 Hamm Damn good reference guide. 100 authors contributed by picking their favorite horror novel of al time. Kim Newman does a fine job of putting the whole project together. The collection put me on to a few titles I was unfamiliar with or perhaps needed a nudge to read, and I did. Although, tracking some of the titles down in the mid 90s was a major pain in the ass. Pre-internet mind you - it took me four years to track down a copy of Guy Endore's "The Werewolf of Paris" (made into the fine 1961 Hammer film The Curse of the Werewolf, a childhood and adult favorite of mine). But, half the fun was the "hunt". I totally recommend this book if you're looking for a pretty definitive list of the most powerful/influential "horror" novels of the last several centuries.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pól

    This book and its follow up are two of the most compulsively readable and re-readable guides to horror fiction. It's a simple premise, ask 100 horror writers what their favourite piece of horror fiction is and get them to write a piece explaining why. For a bibliophile, it's a wonderful way to expand your reading list and give you an idea of where to look for your next book... and besides the obvious, there are some very odd and unexpected choices.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    Who couldn't love a book like this? Well-read individuals contributing short essays on their favorite horror novels, both famous and forgotten. A must read resource.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    This and its sequel are two of my favorite reference works, easily. I have read them both multiple times. First, as reference/criticism, they have directed me towards many books that I now love. Second, as entertainment, being as the entries are (almost) all by professional writers discussing books they are passionate about, I often read entries just for fun, even if I have no intention to read the book discussed

  8. 4 out of 5

    Avi

    Very interesting stuff, and the contributors are great, lots of novelists (Gaiman, King, Pratchett and more are there). I read the '88 version. So yeah, lots of good recommendations, lots of great writers, what's not to love?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bee

    4 stars for the concept alone (100 authors write a short essay on one of their favorite horror books). There is also a handy index of extra reading ideas in the back, as well as bios on the authors. I read the '98 edition. There were many entries from authors that were genuine. Genuinely funny, or thoughtful, or unique. There were also many entries that were plain pretentious, or churned out. I won't say what authors. They are the people that say "Animal Farm IS a horror book technically" or "thi 4 stars for the concept alone (100 authors write a short essay on one of their favorite horror books). There is also a handy index of extra reading ideas in the back, as well as bios on the authors. I read the '98 edition. There were many entries from authors that were genuine. Genuinely funny, or thoughtful, or unique. There were also many entries that were plain pretentious, or churned out. I won't say what authors. They are the people that say "Animal Farm IS a horror book technically" or "this obscure book about pirates isn't necessarily a horror, but...". Way to take the fun out of it. These authors also tend to complain that "vampires and werewolves aren't scary! People are!" MY question is what the hell is wrong with a good werewolf story!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A collection of short essays by 100 different authors on a good mix of horror books (novels, single author collections, anthologies). It has a little too much emphasis on recent novels, as of the time of this book's publication in 1988--I wish there'd been more works from the 1950s and '60s. But it's still a fascinating book

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert Adam Gilmour

    I love this type of book, I bought a good lot of them when I was just getting into speculative fiction, including David Pringle's 100 Best Science Fiction and 100 Best Modern Fantasy; James Cawthorn & Moorcock's 100 Best Fantasy; Bloomsbury's 100 Must Read Fantasy and 100 Must Read Science Fiction (a horror version was promised but it never materialized). This book and the sequel Horror: Another 100 Best Books are different in that each book is chosen and essayed by a different person. You could I love this type of book, I bought a good lot of them when I was just getting into speculative fiction, including David Pringle's 100 Best Science Fiction and 100 Best Modern Fantasy; James Cawthorn & Moorcock's 100 Best Fantasy; Bloomsbury's 100 Must Read Fantasy and 100 Must Read Science Fiction (a horror version was promised but it never materialized). This book and the sequel Horror: Another 100 Best Books are different in that each book is chosen and essayed by a different person. You could argue it's a lesser approach if you want a more serious overview with a consistent set of standards but these two books are so much more fun for having a writer per book and the entries are probably a bit more passionate for this approach. I feel some books get heavily overrated and I remember strongly disagreeing with many of the views but I didn't feel it harmed the book much. There are hundreds of additional books listed at the end so the investigation potential is enormous. One real annoyance is that every contributor's biography is at the back of the book, so after each essay I had to find each biography (I hardly knew who any of these people were at the time and many of them will be less known to readers today). The sequel fixes this by keeping the biographies after each review. This will give you a good grounding in the genre, please buy the sequel too (and some of the other genre guides I mentioned above). Lots of fun.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    My daughter introduced me to this book and it was a great way to find more and more books to read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

    A great resource for people who want to explore the horror genre, but don't know where to go after reading all of the popular authors.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Gallan

    a great book...interesting to read what books turned on certain writers...a good reference to what books i should try to find...very well done...enjoyed it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Geddie

    I picked this one up on a lark, best off books normally only useful for browsing, it this particular one really is worth the read. I’m not an expert on the genre, but the format of different authors suggesting different entries seems to work and introduced me to a lot of titles that will be clogging up my to-read list.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of LaCreeperie

    A must-have for any horror fiction fan, and horror writers in general. You're guaranteed to learn something new, and want to read at least a dozen stories you never knew existed...ok maybe not so for the hardcore group, but you catch my drift. Brilliant stuff!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zach Clark

    A great resource when looking for hidden gems at your local used bookstore. Also a critical look at some of the classics from contemporary writers in the genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    innae

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 100 essays from various authors in the Horror/Sci-Fi world, on what book they think should be listed as one of the 100 Best -- I enjoyed many of the essays just by themselves, and I came up with a BUNCH of new additions to my wishlist (see below). The Monk - Matthew Gregory Lewis (1796) Northhanger Abbey - Jane Austen (1817) - Jane Austen? a horror novelist? Melmouth the Wanderer - Charles Maturin (1820) Twice-Told Tales - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1837) The Black Spider - Jeremias Gotthelf (1842) The Isl 100 essays from various authors in the Horror/Sci-Fi world, on what book they think should be listed as one of the 100 Best -- I enjoyed many of the essays just by themselves, and I came up with a BUNCH of new additions to my wishlist (see below). The Monk - Matthew Gregory Lewis (1796) Northhanger Abbey - Jane Austen (1817) - Jane Austen? a horror novelist? Melmouth the Wanderer - Charles Maturin (1820) Twice-Told Tales - Nathaniel Hawthorne (1837) The Black Spider - Jeremias Gotthelf (1842) The Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells (1896) The Jewel of Seven Stars - Bram Stoker (1903) Ghost Stories of an Antiquary - M.R. James (1904) John Silence, Physician Extraordinary - Algernon Blackwood (1908) The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1909) The Horror Horn: The Best Horror Stories of E.F. Benson (1912-1934) The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck - Alexander Laing (1934) Johnny Got His Gun - Dalton Trumbo (1939) The Night has a Thousand Eyes - Cornell Woolrich (1945) And the Darkness Falls - Boris Karloff (1946) - he wrote a novel? cool The Sound of His Horn - Sarban (1952) Nine Horrors and a Dream - Joseph Payne Brennen (1958) - which are the horrors and which the dream? Cry Horror! - H.P. Lovecraft (1959) - I don't think I have read any of his stuff... The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch - Philip K. Dick (1964) It - Theodore Sturgeon (?) The Compleat Werewolf - Anthony Boucher (1969) The Sheep Look Up - John Brunner (1972) Burnt Offerings - Robert Marasco (1973) anything by Al Sarrantonio (funny horror??) Deathbird Stories - Harlan Ellison (1975) Murgunstrumm and Others - Hugh B. Cave (1977) All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By - John Farris (1977) The Totem - David Morrell (1979) The Dark Country - Dennis Etchison (1982) Hawksmoor - Peter Ackroyd (1985) A Nest of Nightmares - Lisa Tuttle (1986) Swan Song - Robert McCammon (1987) Dark Feasts - Ramsey Campbell (1957)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard Subber

    Horror: 100 Best Books is a tantalizing book about the editors’ selection of 100 best horror stories. Of course you’ll disagree with some of their picks, but it’s a very decent, solid list. You’ll have to camp out at your local library to read the actual stories. The central appeal of this survey is the luminous crew of reviewers, who offer their brief critiques of the stories—in styles that range from academic to quirky. My personal favorite is Edgar Allan Poe’s fastidiously approving remarks abo Horror: 100 Best Books is a tantalizing book about the editors’ selection of 100 best horror stories. Of course you’ll disagree with some of their picks, but it’s a very decent, solid list. You’ll have to camp out at your local library to read the actual stories. The central appeal of this survey is the luminous crew of reviewers, who offer their brief critiques of the stories—in styles that range from academic to quirky. My personal favorite is Edgar Allan Poe’s fastidiously approving remarks about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales (1837). Poe was among the literary sponsors of Hawthorne before the author of The Scarlet Letter achieved some renown. Poe’s own nomination among the 100 Best Books is Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1833-1847), including “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It is somewhat capriciously reviewed by John M. Ford, who apparently likes to mix comedy with his horror. Probably it’s fair to say there’s something here for everybody: from Shakespeare to H. Rider Haggard to Kafka to H. P. Lovecraft to Ramsey Campbell. Never heard of Ramsey Campbell? Grab this book. Read more of my book reviews and poems here: http://richardsubber.com/

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Yes, this collection of essays analyzing horror writers' favorite horror fiction was fascinating. It explores what makes good horror fiction (for starters - the ability to inspire awe and fear, not disgust, as many assume), and it gave me lots of new authors and titles to add to my to-read list. While dated (the collection was written over 20 years ago), many of the works discussed are classics and worth noting at any time. An insightful look into the works that most terrify us and why they are a Yes, this collection of essays analyzing horror writers' favorite horror fiction was fascinating. It explores what makes good horror fiction (for starters - the ability to inspire awe and fear, not disgust, as many assume), and it gave me lots of new authors and titles to add to my to-read list. While dated (the collection was written over 20 years ago), many of the works discussed are classics and worth noting at any time. An insightful look into the works that most terrify us and why they are able to do so. *language, descriptions of violent works

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    I don't know if I need to actually read this, but I found the list itself interesting: http://horrorbooks.co/give-200-best-horror-books I don't know if I need to actually read this, but I found the list itself interesting: http://horrorbooks.co/give-200-best-horror-books

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Hillsboro Public Library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Outstanding resource for finding hidden gems (as is its follow-up, More 100 Horror Books).

  24. 4 out of 5

    john

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Lambert-Maberly

  26. 4 out of 5

    maitri hegde

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott Roberts

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kenny Chan

  30. 5 out of 5

    De'Shawn

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